February 17, 2012
By John Barnett
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When Jesus Christ introduces Himself in Revelation 3:7 to those precious and faithful saints, He makes one of the greatest promises ever made.
They, like us, lived in an uncertain world, and more than to any other church, Jesus explains His power in a way we all can grasp and hold onto today.
We each need to hear, and understand, and hold onto by faith:
*The Most Amazing Promise*
In a world of uncertainties, lurking disasters, constant unknowns, and endless potential dangers—Jesus Christ told these believers so much like us: here is truth you can hold tightly.
Jesus re-introduces Himself, and the promise was in His identity as The Christ.
It’s holding on by faith, to who Jesus really is, that changes everything.
They needed a reminder of just Who they were listening to.
Jesus Christ tells them that He holds the key to everything.
Nothing that Jesus Christ opens can be closed; and when He shuts the door to anything—that door can never be opened.
That concept is powerful to think about, depending on which side of the door you are on.
Christ’s words are either amazingly encouraging: that the door of blessing, ministry, or hope will never be shut; or very soberingly horrible, that the door of life, forgiveness, security, and hope can slam shut to you, and it can never be re-opened.
Now, join me as we listen to Christ's His voice in Rev. 3:7-13:
Revelation 3:7-13 (NKJV)/ “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works.
See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly!
Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.
I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.
And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’/
*Getting to Know The Real Jesus Christ*
Jesus never introduces Himself to these seven churches just by His Name, He always adds a definition of His Character, and a description of Himself.
But, up until this sixth church, those descriptions and definitions parallel what was already stated in Revelation 1.
But not to this faithful church at Philadelphia, Jesus Christ introduces Himself by using a string of four Hebrew descriptions of God.
These words define the real Jesus Christ.
These truths are what the believers of this church were to grasp onto, and hold tightly by faith.
Jesus said in His earthly ministry that the truth makes us free.
If we meditate upon what Christ revealed of His True Identity, our lives can be forever changed.
Note these four again with me in v.7:
Revelation 3:7 (NKJV)/ “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says: 1).
He who is holy; 2).
He who is true; 3).
“He who has the key of David; 4).
He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”/:
For a moment we need to focus upon each of these four descriptive titles Christ Jesus takes, and see the implications of each.
*Jesus Christ is The Holy God*
When He said I am Holy, Jesus was identifying Himself to the saints at Philadelphia as the Holy and Just One, that can’t tolerate sin.
Look on to v. 8. Jesus Christ who is Omniscient, remember His eyes of blazing fire (Rev.
1:14) that can penetrate anything, seeing clearly everything says these words, “I know your works”.
Yet, when Christ's inspection of their fellowship is completed and written up in this report, His inspection produces no rebukes, no warnings, and no condemnation: they become a very compelling model for us, given by Jesus Christ Himself to us, of what it takes to please God as a local church.
Now back to the second descriptive title in v. 7. Jesus writes: ‘These things says: 1).
He who is holy; 2).
He who is true:
*Jesus Christ Is Truth*
God is often described as holy and true, so Jesus Christ takes this reflection of God’s eternal character and introduces Himself to the saints as Philadelphia.
He says the Holy and True One is speaking to you.
The word is alethinos which speaks of being real, genuine, as opposed to being fake or counterfeit.
The combination of God as holy/righteous and true in v. 7 is a pattern we see throughout Revelation.
Revelation 6:10 (NKJV) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, /“How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”/
Revelation 15:3 (NKJV) /They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!/
Revelation 16:7 (NKJV)/ And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”/
Revelation 19:2 (NKJV) /For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”/
Again, look back at our text in Rev. 3:7.
/The Holy One is speaking, and He is also the True One.
This Holy and True One who speaks the truth, and sees everything, and demands holiness and separation from sin has visited them, watched them, analyzed them, and presents His findings in v. 8, and has nothing to rebuke them for./
*What an Incredible Church*
They were not perfect, they were not sinless, they were not given something different than every other church: they were just faithful to that Word that had received.
They obeyed what the Lord told them: Confess and forsake sin when it comes, no matter how often.
To the Philadelphian saints He said, I see all as the Holy and True God and conclude that there is nothing I need to rebuke.
That offers the amazing truth for us that it is possible, within the Scriptural truths we have been given, to please God in our daily lives to this extent: that there is nothing He needs to rebuke or condemn us for.
Though all of us are weak, frail, and very aware of our fallen humanity, yet Jesus shows us that we can live this pleasing life in His Holy sight.
As we go through life the way the Scriptures tell us: we sin, we repent, we seek His cleansing and experience His forgiveness.
In all of that, faithfully living and walking the pathway He left for us, Jesus Christ the God of Truth and Holiness finds lives He can commend.
That is amazing.
That is thrilling.
That is what the saints at Philadelphia heard.
That is what each of us should desire to be by His grace each day.
Now look back at v. 7 for the third description Jesus Christ speaks by way of introducing Himself.
He says ‘These things says: 1).
He who is holy; 2).
He who is true; 3).
“He who has the key of David.
*Jesus Christ Is Holding the Key*
It is possible that, to many of us, this Old Testament description of a “key of David” from Isaiah 22:22 seems remote.
It seems mysterious, or even makes us wonder why that would even be important.
But it held a vast trove of truth to them.
The Isaiah passage Jesus is quoting from, uses the phrase “key of David” in the context of Shebna, who was the steward of the king of Judah.
This position of steward, was one who served the king as one: who dispensed the king’s wealth, who allowed entrance to the king’s presence, and who displayed the king’s power.
The steward was often second in power to the king, much like a prime minister.
The steward of the king held the key to the dispensing of the kings wealth, presence, and power: and that is what the promised, anointed, Messiah the Christ was coming to do for God the Father.
In God's Word, David is much more than just the shepherd-boy, giant-killer, and Psalm-writer as we see him across the pages of Scripture.
In those 141 chapters of the Bible that contain inspired insights about David we find that David also symbolized the office of the coming Messiah.
So the key of David signified the stewardship of the coming Messiah, who would not be like merely earthly kings, but would dispense the treasures, power, and presence of the King of the Universe.
*Jesus the Messiah Opens the Power, Riches, & Presence of God*
The Anointed One of God, the Messiah was promised to come as a descendent of David, who holding the rights and power of the Messiah in that key of David (listen to this similar description): would dispense God’s treasures, who would open God’s Presence, and who would display God’s power as the second person of the Trinity.
When Jesus opens a door of blessing it can’t be shut.
When Jesus opens a door of ministry, it can’t be shut.
Jesus Christ is the One to stay in touch with if you want to see things happen.
This key opens the door to salvation; this key gives entrance to God’s Kingdom; and only Jesus Christ has this key, and He alone can open God’s Treasures to us.
Look over to Revelation 5.
Here in the scene of the Throne Room of the Universe, in the midst of the endless waves of worship rising before the Almighty, look at v. 5.
Here is something we sometimes could miss.
Revelation 5:5 (NKJV) /But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.